Plants Acclimated for Arkansas?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: John T Harris
Posted on: April 18, 1998

In several of the magazines to which I subscribe I have noticed your firm is highly respected in the horticulture/nursery trade. I am located in Zone 6b USA, in the very northwest corner of the state of Arkansas. I am interested in Scented Leaf Pelagoriums and I have just requested a copy of your catalogue. With your being located in Canada will your plants be acclimated to growing in my zone?

All our plants are grown in greenhouses. Greenhouse-grown plants benefit from a hardening off process before spring planting. This involves a careful exposure to outdoor conditions before planting, usually for a week or two. Outdoor factors such as stronger sunlight, cooler temperatures and less frequent watering can cause stress to greenhouse-grown plants, sometimes causing leaves to turn red or purple for a week or two. During this period, plants are adapting to the new conditions, generating new foliage that is better suited to the outdoor conditions.

What zone you are in is not all that important; plants will go through the hardening off process in any zone, although it will be more severe when outdoor conditions are more extreme. In our zone 5, our plants will go through the adjustment for a week or two and then will take off.

After several days shipping without light, the hardening off process is more pronounced. We recommend giving newly arrived plants a few days of exposure to bright light, but shaded partially from intense mid-day light. You can plant right away in the garden and set up some sort of shade screen to protect the plants from "scalding," or you can set the pots outdoors, moving them to shade when the sun gets too intense at midday. After about a week, plants can be planted (or screen removed). Shade-loving plants, of course, should continue to get shade.

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